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CM makes no commitment on plantation workers' demand

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CM makes no commitment on plantation workers demand
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Thiruvananthapuram: With no end in sight to the state-wide stir by plantation workers over wage revision, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy hoped an amicable solution would be found but did not make any commitment on their main demand for daily wages of Rs 500.

"Demand of workers is reasonable, but the economic situation of the plantation sector, affordability and other factors have to be considered," he told reporters after a cabinet meeting here.

The CM said the sector should be able to withstand the wages then only it will sustain for long. At the same time the workers should be given reasonable wages for a decent living, he said.

Nearly three lakh workers employed in different estates are on an indefinite strike demanding wage revision and 20 per cent bonus.

The second round of Plantation Labour Committee meeting held here yesterday had failed to arrive at a consensus on the wage revision after unions and Management representatives stuck to their respective stands.

The unions demanded Rs 500 as daily wages for the workers while plantation-owners maintained that it was not possible for them to hike it to that level.

AITUC, CITU, INTUC, BMS and several small trade unions are participating in the strike.

United Planters Association of Southern India had also termed as 'impractical' the Kerala plantation workers' demand for a daily wage of Rs 500.

"It would not be possible for us to bear Rs 500 daily as wages. That demand is impractical...because the current economic realities coupled with a plethora of taxes and levies do not make it a viable proposition," newly-elected UPASI President N Dharmaraj had told reporters in Kochi.

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